tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN February 24, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST
a busy day for the u.s. special counsel. new charges against one former trump campaign staffer and a plea deal from another. in the meantime, missed warning signals in the florida school shooting add to the heartbreak. and the questions about prevention. a second russian athlete is found guilty of doping. live in pyeongchang with the details. we are live at cnn world headquarters in atlanta. we welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm george howell. "cnn newsroom" starts now.
4:00 a.m. here on the u.s. east coast and the special counsel overseeing the russia investigation is continuing to pile on the pressure. on friday, robert mueller filed new charges against the chairman, paul manafort. a new indictment found he paid politicians to lobby in the united states on behalf of ukraine. that indictment came hours after manafort's long-time aide pleaded guilty to two charges and agreed to cooperate with the russia investigation. sarah murray picks it up here. >> reporter: another guilty plea for special counsel, robert mueller. former campaign adviser, rick gates pleading guilty to russian interference. gates pleaded guilty in d.c. court to conspiracy to defraud
the u.s. telling friends and family in a letter, the last several months have been excruciating. gates is cooperating with the special counsel, the third trump associate to cooperate with the mueller investigation. the decision to flip on his long-time business partner, paul manafort, ramps up the pressure for manafort to cooperate with mueller, particularly about the campaign. >> i think these lawyers are putting so much pressure on these guys with so many high stakes that the ultimate decision is going to be i have protect myself and my country. >> reporter: charges unrelated to the campaign. in the charges gates' pleaded two, he outlined how they hid millions of dollars from the federal government and lied to investigators in 2016 about the scheme. investigators caught gates in a lie during an interview in plea
negotiations earlier this month. he lied in saying ukraine was not discussed in a 2013 meeting with manafort. it shows california congressman, a russia friendly member of congress attended. in a letter to associates, gates describes the decision to plead guilty as a change of heart. the reality of how long it will take, the cost and the circus-like atmosphere is too much, gates writes. mueller unveiled new charges, 18 counts against manafort and others against gates. the new charges carry the risk of a far longer prison sentence, up to 30 years if found guilty of bank fraud. the move highlights how mueller's team is turning up the heat to press them to cooperate. their cooperation, building blocks to use against other
trump associates or even the president. the pressure took the toll on gates. millions of dollars in offshore accounts for mortgage, tuition and interior decorating. in explaining, gates writes, the consequence is the public humiliation, which seems like a small price to pay for what our children would have to endure otherwise. as part of the plea agreement, he agreed to turn over documents, testify in cases including paul manafort's. manafort is still saying he is innocent. i would hope my colleague would have had the strenlgt to continue to battle to prove our innocence. itis clear, for now, manafort indicating he wants to go to
trial. sarah murray, cnn, washington. >> thank you. now, to the aftermath of the deadly school shooting that took place in florida. we are learning details about failures and missed signals that could have stopped the massacre and saved lives. randi kaye reports for us. >> reporter: while the gunman was inside majory stone doug last high school, killing people at random, a trained sheriff's deputy did nothing. >> devastated, sick to my stomach. there are no words. >> reporter: the broward county sheriff saying one deputy, scott peterson, who was armed and in uniform, clearly knew there was an active shooter, but stayed in position. it shows the deputy doing nothing for more than four minutes, while the bullets flew inside. the shooting lasted six minutes. deputy peterson as since resigned. when asked what he should have
done. >> went in. addressed the killer. killed the killer. >> reporter: new information peterson wasn't the only sheriff's deputy who failed to act. coral springs police tell cnn three other broward county sheriff's deputies remained outside, pistols drawn, but hiding outside their vehicles. itis unclear if the shooter was there when they arrived, but not one went into the school. the coral springs officers were the first to go in. meanwhile, during the shooting, a key misstep. surveillance video security teams were watching in hopes of locating the 19-year-old gunman had been rewound. >> police! police! >> reporter: the 20-minute video delay led authorities to believe the gunman was still in the building, when, in reality, he was long gone. >> the delay never put us in a situation where kids lives were in danger.
>> reporter: long before the shooting, there were warning signs that went nowhere. the fbi missed a major red flag. cnn reviewed a transcript from a call earlier this year. someone close to the shooter warning that the teen was going to explode. she spoke of his social media posts about guns and violence in school, saying she feared him getting into a school and shooting the place up. the fbi admitted that proper protocols weren't followed on a key tip about the suspect, weeks before the attack. >> there was a mistake made. we know that. but, it is our job to make sure we do everything in our power to ensure that does not happen again. >> reporter: also, the broward county sheriff, now revealing their office received 18 calls related to the suspect over the past decade. in a 2016 call, officers got a tip that he planned to shoot up an unknown school. police records show the
responding deputy passed the information on to a school resource officer. in another call, they warned the teen was collecting guns, suggesting he could be a school shooter in the making. officers simply referred it to the palm beach sheriff department for review. last year, a family in palm beach county alerted police the suspect put a gun up to someone's head. the suspect, himself, called 911 about the incident. >> i'm mad. i started punching walls and a kidnap [ bleep ] after me. >> police responded and were told at the scene, it had all been worked out. randi kaye, cnn, parkland, florida. >> the u.s. president, donald trump, weighed in on that armed resource officer who did not go into the school building. he said the officer did not act properly under pressure and did not have the courage to do what needed to be done. mr. trump said the officers
actions justify arming more teachers. listen. >> a security guard doesn't know the children, doesn't love the children. this man standing outside of the school the other day doesn't love the children. probably doesn't know the children. the teachers love their children. they love their pupils, they love their students. >> to talk about this, let's bring in peter matthews, a political analyst and professor at cypress college from los angeles. good to have you with us. >> the gates' plea deal. what pressure does this put on manafort? specifically, what does manafort know and what could mueller be trying to pull out of him? >> gates and manafort, have been with president trump for a while especially gates. manafort will be charges by mueller of using money, secretly, to pay european politicians to lobby for ukraine
and hiding it. gates was charged and pleaded guilty to several charges and manafort was charged with these charges. manafort is on to something. he stayed on after manafort left, mr. gates, who pleaded guilty as well. that's going to be an interesting case if he working with mr. mueller. >> for those in the white house, those around the president, there's been word that this investigation will wrap up in a matter of months. but, given what we are seeing right now, what does this say about the extent of mueller's investigation, how much longer this might continue? >> it's going to continue on and on for many months and possibly a year or two. there's more and more information coming up. mr. mueller is getting closer than the president may or may not have known. he's not going to give up until he knows. kelly said the investigation will be over soon.
it was to get mr. trump not to interfere. that's the danger, mr. trump is interfering and obstructing justice. i don't think they believe it will be over soon. especially with manafort and gates doing what they are doing. >> this investigation certainly is front and center and the president chiming in on that deadly shooting that took place at a high school in the u.s. state of florida. the president made comments about that officer that stood outside the school saying the officer didn't love the students, making the comparison that teachers would love them more and essentially pushing his policy message about arming teachers. obviously the teacher's union pushed against this. do you see this going anywhere? >> i think it's going to be resolved, it's got to be, soon, especially when teachers are dragged into this thing. most teachers don't want to be armed. they were never trained for
that. when they took the job, they were never given that. to put guns in their hands is disengenius. imagine someone coming in with an assault rifle or weapon. they have to reach in a safe and get it. then turn around and hit the guy with cross fire which could be worse or just as bad and shoot a lot of kids. i think mr. trump is not being straight forward on this. he's trying to have it both ways. he wants to look like he is doing something about the tragedy, but held by the nra and voters to not ban assault weapons. that's what you need, to ban assault weapons so this guy could not get a hold of them. that's the problem. >> the president is surely walking a fine line, speaking to the families here, these grieving families who lost loved ones at the same time, speaking
to his base, many people who support the nra. on the stage at c-pac, the president seemed pro-nra saying they are good people that want to do the right thing. how does that square with the backlash the nra is getting? >> i don't think he's going to benefit from this at all if he takes the nras side or is soft on them. many businesses are boycotting and are going get away from cooperating with the nra. the brand risk is going on. nra has a terrible brand name at this point and businesses are falling away like enterprise car rental broke away from them as other businesses. this is not a good thing for the president to hang on to politically or ethically. in the end, 67% of americans say we should ban assault weapons. that would be a good beginning.
we saw them begging the florida legislature to do so and they wouldn't do it. and begging the president to get behind them. these young people are leading the charge to make america safer. i don't think mr. trump is going the right direction right now. if he wants to help america's children, he should take real action. >> well, what about this? the president advocated raising the age limit, the florida governor has also done the same. this is in opposition to the nra, so the question, do you see this as a major policy shift? >> i see it as a very small step, a good step in the right direction, but not close to what needs to be done, george. just raising the age doesn't mean you can stop most of the shooters. many of them were above 21 or above. and they will continue this thing as long as the assault weapons are so easily available. look what happened in australia. when they had a huge shooting in
port arthur, the conservative government banned assault weapons and, immediately, from then on, a couple decades, not one single mass shooting in australia. we have examples of that. smaller amount of gun ownership have lower gun deaths and vice versa. we know the social science behind it. president trump should go with the facts and so should the nra. no one is saying take away everyone's gun. ban the gun that is are assault weapons, war-related, not for hunting or self-defense and make everyone else safer. >> peter matthews, we appreciate your time and perspective. thank you. >> thank you, george. for president trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, more security clearance problems loom on the horizon. the white house learned
significant information, requiring more information would delay it further according to the white house reporting. if he keeps his clearance, that will be made by chief of staff, john kelly. questions have been raised about kushner having access to classified materials with only temporary clearance. still ahead, syrians hope for a cease-fire. we have a live report ahead.
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welcome back. this story just into cnn. an attack in afghanistan killing 18 afghan soldiers. a large number of insurgents were killed during the fight. afghan officials aren't saying how many. the attack happened in the western province on saturday. turning now to syria where things often look like they couldn't be worse, then they turn out to be worse. as seen here by civilians in
ghouta. they are being hit by a new kind of rocket, a rocket that spreads fire. this is playing out as they hope for a 30-day cease-fire. they failed to vote on the resolution friday. backers hope to try again for a vote in the coming hours. ben is following this. this goes without question to say there's a lot at stake. set the stage for us as to why the first vote didn't come together. >> reporter: actually, george, they have been meeting since thursday, trying to agree on some sort of resolution that would, within 72 hours, bring into effect the 30-day humanitarian cease-fire. the sticking point, we understand, is the russians want american guarantees that the rebel groups operating in
eastern ghouta, the main ones will abide by the cease-fire. of course the problem here is the americans, essentially shut down their operation in jordan that was providing money and weapons to the rebels in syria. therefore, they don't have much control over those groups, anymore. saudi arabia was providing support for them, but their support dwindled as they worry about the conflict in syria. it's not clear if anybody can satisfy the russian demands. earlier, the russians said they would respect the truce, but it would be any fighters with isis.
so, there's no guarantee, at this point, after today, it will be three days of discussions in the u.n. security council that they are going to come to any agreement. what we are hearing from within eastern ghouta, from civilians and doctors is the situation is getting worse. people are worried to go outside to bury the dead. food and medical supplies are dangerously low, therefore, they don't have a lot of time to waste, waiting for the diplomats in new york to come to an agreement on this humanitarian cease-fire. george? >> ben, those are the facts. thank you for the reporting. let's get context now. we have the professor at london school of economics and written extensively about conflicts in the middle east, live with us this hour. good to have you with us, sir.
let's talk more about this vote, mainly coming down to russia, which stands as a shield to the syrian government. let's talk about the sticking points ben laid out that stand in the way of a cease-fire. what is holding this up? >> russia is not coming out and saying what it really wants. what russia wants is for the rebels, about 5,000 strong in eastern ghouta to be evacuated sooner rather than later. this is the goal of russia and iran. the reality is the russians are very upset, very angry because the rebels have, of course, they did not attend the sochi conference. there have been talks between the rebels and egyptians about evacuation from eastern ghouta. the rebels would not accept the
condition. what you are seeing now is negotiation by blood and fire. what the russians and the syrians and allies are trying to do is basically to terrorize the civilians and the rebels and force a settlement whereby, at the end of the day, damascus, for your own viewers, eastern ghouta is five miles away from the heart of damascus. it's the valley of damascus. it's the last area held by the rebels. what assad and the russians and everyone is trying to do is win the war militarily. the evacuation of eastern ghouta by the rebels means the last major stronghold held by the rebels. that's why the russians are pushing very hard. they don't want just a cease-fire. they want a conditional cease-fire based on the fact that the rebels, at the end of the day, if not today in a month or so would be evacuated from
eastern ghouta. >> look, this vote, the significance for the security counsel, very important. it's not only for the implications on the ground in syria, but regarding the credibility of this body itself. >> george, we have been there before. how many times have we talked about the credibility of the security counsel? about the international community has led the syrian people down for the last seven years. think of how many times you and i have spoken on telephone. what you are seeing is a repeat of the aleppo backed -- in fact, these are not my words, those are the words of the russian foreign minister. lavrov said, we think we could repeat the aleppo model in
eastern ghouta. the united states is marginalized, nowhere to be seen. donald trump is not interested except in isis. the russians have the upper hand in syria. what the russians are trying to do is send a message, not only to the rebels, but the united states and the european powers, president putin is the king maker. what you are really seeing is this is the brutality of international relations. basically blood and fire determines, basically, the balance of power. the russians are saying, look, we have the means to terrorize the civilians and the rebels. by the end of the day, you have to accept our way. >> let's talk about that. we are talking geo politics here. right now, families are living underground, families hiding from bombs, unsure whether they
will find food or water. people that are simply trying to survive right now. help our viewers understand the living hell that is their daily lives and why this is so critical. >> you are absolutely correct. the humanitarian situation is basically hellish. you have a blood bath. you have 400,000 civilians who live in a very small area called eastern ghouta. remember, george, they have been under siege for more than five years. the situation is hellish. now, it's a blood bath. it's hellish blood bath. you have hundreds of civilians, including children who have been injured and killed. the reality is, the question, at the end of the day, russia's interest basically top everything else. sadly and tragically, the united states and the international community have not been able to engage the russians about a way out. what you really have in syria
now, we talked about it weeks ago, is a fierce geo strategic struggle between regional and global powers. you have turkey, israel and iran. in syria, you have the united states and russians. the russians are trying to say, look, we are basically, we have the dominant position and we are going to establish the rules of the game. so far, the russians have a military dominant position, but nothing able to translate their military position into political category. they are angry. the conference in russia and sochi, really failed. the russians are saying to the rebels, we are going show you our own way. that's really what you are seeing going on in eastern ghouta, but, also, in terms of the civil war inside syria, eastern ghouta is essential for asset. five miles away from the heart of damascus.
the rebels have been shelling damascus almost on daily basis. of course the rebels don't have the same weapons that the assad regime has. this is really a vequestion of securing damascus. >> live for us in london. thank you for the context. we'll stay in touch with you. "cnn newsroom" will be back after the break. ♪
former trump campaign manager, paul manafort is facing charges he paid european politicians to lobby in the united states on behalf of ukraine. manafort's former aide, rick gates could testify against him in the russia investigation. gates pleaded guilty on friday and admitted he and manafort lied and hid millions of dollars they made during the pro-ukrainian lobbying work. the u.s. is imposing more sanctions on north korea, targeting shipping companies and vessels. officials say it's part of a campaign of maximum pressure to rid the peninsula. in the state of florida, we are learning details about the missteps in response to the high school massacre there. word that not one, but possibly four law enforcement officers waited outside as the gunman mowed down high school students and teachers. in a call to the fbi in january,
an unidentified women said nikolas cruz was going to, quote, explode. a great deal of anger and frustration over the mixed signs and failures to act. one of those frustrated is samantha, a senior at the school. she was shot in both legs and hospitalized. she spoke earlier to my colleague, erin burnett on "outfront." listen. >> everyone reported this kid. we thought we did everything to get him off school grounds, away from us because he was violent and malicious. kids joked about how he was going to be the next shooter. as students, we could only do so much. if we put it in the hands of the law and the government, it would be handled. >> president trump called samantha while she was in the hospital. she said the experience was a little bizarre. >> one of the first things he
said to me was that he heard i was a big fan of his and he was a big fan of mine. he was trying to console me and let me know that everything was going to be okay. he then commenced to call the shooter a sick puppy and used the word, oh, boy, a solid eight times. >> again, samantha there, shot in both legs, hospitalized. she spoke earlier to erin burnett. a veteran supports the ban of future purchases of ar-15 weapons. the powerful op-ed in the new york times headlines, i'm a republican and i appreciate weapons and i support a ban. he says changing laws will save lives. >> the platform that i carried an m-4 carbon, similar to an ar-15. i was carrying that weapon on the battlefield in the most
dangerous country on earth for one reason, because of its lethality. it was the best weapon the army could give me to go out there and eliminate our enemies. i can honestly say my community and my kids and our schools, i don't think they are made safer by the general population of civilians have been access to the best weapon the army could put in my hand to go out there and kill our enemies. >> aside from the officers that didn't respond, first responders are off the scene as heroes. people who work through tragic circumstances. for some, who responded to the parkland massacre, recounting those moments triggers strong emotions. cnn's rosa florez sat down with three of them. >> you are dpoung to take on fire. >> reporter: these first responders were the first to enter majory stoneman douglas
high school after a gunman fired at students and teachers. >> there was a victim outside the west doors. we checked on that victim. that victim was deceased. >> at this moment, i actually felt sick, but i know i have a job to do. >> reporter: the building, they say, riddled with bullet holes. inside, a chilling silence. >> you would think there would be smoke alarms and screaming. it was very silent. >> poor visibility from the amount of gunfire that took place. spent shell casings on the ground. you could see multiple victims in the hallway immediately, that were beyond assistance. >> reporter: inside classrooms, students and teachers taking cover and calling this 911 center. dispatchers say victims were afraid to speak, so they listened for breathing as a sign of life. >> you have to be quiet, that's okay. as long as i can hear you
breathing. >> white male. >> reporter: sergeant massey was on the second floor when this came over the radio. >> went from the third floor to the second floor. >> we were engaging him. >> reporter: the video was not live, it was a delay. >> i looked down, standing on top of the rifle. his rifle is there. his vest is there. >> reporter: then a fake call for help. >> open the door, again. i'm sorry. the kid deserves a lot of credit. >> i had a firefighter the whole time. i'm looking for my friends daughter that is on the third floor. i don't know -- >> reporter: as for the heroes that respond to the unthinkable, they felt blessed to hug their own children. >> he goes, daddy, i love you. that was tough for me. >> reporter: even though they hope it never happens again --
>> if it does, i want to make sure that i'm there. >> reporter: rosa florez, cnn, parkland, florida. >> credit to the men and women who went in there and did what they did. still ahead, she is called the u.s. charmer. she is in south korea. how donald trump's daughter, ivanka is practicing diplomacy at the winter games. plus, another russian found doping. this eliminates them from the closing ceremony procession. cnn has a live report from pyeongchang, ahead.
korea ahead of the closing ceremonies. pau paula hancox has the story. let's talk about the political tension that exists beyond the winter games. has ivanka trump's presence been symbolic or is there more to it? is she active on different fronts? >> reporter: george, certainly, the fact is the u.s. president, donald trump's daughter is here cheering on team usa athletes. she's here for something more important. she is part of this delegation. she is leading the delegation. she came with a message for the president of south korea on friday night. she was detailing the sanctions the u.s. treasury department has just added. they say they are the most significant sanctions, the heaviest sanctions against north korea, shipping companies, vessels, 28 vessels which have
been sanctioned to make sure north korea is not able to import or export things it is not supposed to be against united nations sanctions, saying they would punish people trying to help them avoid those sanctions. this is part of the message that ivanka trump has been bringing to the south koreans. we heard, also, president moon told her at this banquet meeting, even though the north and south koreans were going to be talking, it was very important that was in conjunction with talking about denuclearization. the two were not mutually exclusive. george? >> paula hancocks is live for us. more on the exciting competition in pyeongchang. let's cross over to world sports, amanda davis. good to have you with us. >> reporter: hi, george. we have had a winter olympic first. saturday, the 24 of february,
2018 a day she will not forget is a day she made history, claiming her second gold in her sect sport in this game having shot the world and herself in to gold in alpine skiing. she started with a victory in the slalom. she won't make the same mistake, not putting on any make up. she had to do her press conference in her ski goggles. that was the czech republic's second. there's a record for norway, as well. their bronze in the alpine, their 38th medal. they have surpassed the most medals, ever, by any country at the winter olympics. it's incredible considering the size of their team. certainly left a loss of the
other teams scratching their heads trying to work out how they are done it. talking head scratching, a fair amount of that will be going on at the ioc executive board meeting here in pyeongchang. it is where they are discussing whether or not to allow the banned russian team to transform from the neutral uniform back to using their own russian flag and russian kit for sunday evening's closing ceremony. it was put on the table as an option when the deal was struck to allow some russian athletes to compete despite the ban of doping. a russian whistleblower described it as the most important in its history for the ioc. but, one that has most definitely been complicated by the failed drug test. she became the second member of the team from russia to fail a test during these games. that happened just yesterday,
friday. so, two of four positive tests have come from the team meant to represent the new, clean face of russian sports. it will be very interesting to see how the board plays into that ideal. we have heard a lot in the last week of the team competing by the letter of the law and the spirit of the games. we are actually expecting to find out the ruling on sunday, just a few hours ahead of the closing ceremony. george? >> we'll be looking ahead to it. thank you. we'll stay in touch. i want to tell you about march 14th as well. the second annual, my freedom day. cnn is partnering with people around the world for a stude student-led day of action. we have been asking people what freedom means to them. this is what it means to olympic figure skater, nathan chen. >> freedom is being who you are
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welcome back. i'm joined by meteorologist ivanka brar ra to tell us about this flood threat from the u.s. state of texas to pennsylvania. >> it goes 1300 miles. let's go to lansing, michigan. this is what happened yesterday. we had a breached dam. a lot of areas got flooded downstream. officials telling folks what was happening. no mandatory evacuations. i'm afraid what you are seeing there is going to be repeated across the country. george mentioned an extensive flood threat from basically texas all the way to pennsylvania. keep in mind, this exact area has seen several inches of rainfall over the last several days. it's not going to take much to involve additional flooding, not
just from the rain but the rivers continuing to rise. we have over 300 rivers that are at some kind of flood stage with several of them at major flood stage. this is the way the radar is going to go. storms continue to develop today and into tomorrow, very heavy rainfall. along with the rain that will be several inches by the time we get to sunday, severe weather. in fact, this is the most significant, severe event that we have had so far this season. if you are watching this from the united states and where you see the orange there, heads up. be weather aware. we have potential for damaging winds, strong tornadoes and hail. not just the flood threat, but now the severe weather threat on top of that as well. >> ivan, thank you so much. the new "black panther" film has been shattering box office records. in kenya, they had to make room for additional screenings.
>> i waited my entire life for this. >> reporter: take a hollywood superhero movie, set it in an african nation and fill it with some of the best black talent. an instant fan base is formed. the movie, "black panther" is being braced by audiences here, inspired by cultures across the continent. an umbilical cord that ties black folk to the african continent. >> completely underestimated how big of a deal this movie would be. we have to cancel other movies and screenings to make room for "black panther." the demand is nearly through the roof. >> reporter: making room for the small estefans. >> this is her first experience. it was very important for me for them to see "black panther."
>> reporter: we didn't see the crowd funding campaign to get this group of 200 teenagers to see the movie in 3-d at this movie house. she raised $2,000 in 24 hours. >> i wanted them to celebrate, to be part of the party, to be part of the pride of "black panther." >> reporter: these first-time movie goers give their verdict. did you like the movie? >> yeah! >> the only part i heard you cheering is when peter was kissing. >> reporter: so, when people are crowd sourcing for funds to let kids like this watch cinema for the first time, to make sure they see the experience is "black panther," there's something in that. it's very, very simple. it's about identity. it's about who they are. it's about why they are so proud to see other black people on the screen.
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